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U.S. Supreme Court

Biddinger v. Commissioner of Police, 245 U.S. 128 (1917)

Biddinger v. Commissioner of Police

No. 426

Argued October 10, 11, 1917

Decided November 5, 1917

245 U.S. 128


Article IV, § 2, of the Constitution intends not to express the law of extradition as usually prevailing among independent nations, but to provide a summary executive proceeding whereby the states may promptly aid one another in bringing accused persons to trial. Its chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 245 U. S. 129

provisions, and the statutes passed in execution of them, should be construed liberally to effectuate this purpose.

A person indicted in due form for an offense against the laws of a state, who was present in that state at the time when the offense is so alleged to have been committed and subsequently leaves it, becomes, within the meaning of the federal Constitution and laws, a fugitive from justice, and upon the making of demand, accompanied by certified papers, as required by § 5278 of the Revised Statutes, the governor of the state in which he is found must cause him to be arrested and delivered for extradition into the custody of the authorized agent of the state whose laws are alleged to have been violated.

An accused person arrested in interstate extradition proceedings, who sues out habeas corpus to obtain his discharge on the ground that he is not a fugitive from justice, is not entitled to introduce evidence to prove that, after the date of the alleged offense, he was "usually and publicly resident" within the demanding state for a time sufficient to bar the prosecution under its limitation statutes. The statute of limitations is a defense. and must be asserted on the trial by the defendant in criminal cases, and this Court has frequently decided that matters of defense cannot be heard on habeas corpus to test the validity of an arrest in extradition, but must be heard and decided at the trial, by the courts of the demanding state.


The case is stated in the opinion.

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